Elisabeth (Portrait) - Elisabeth Musical

In Progress

Showcased 22nd July 2012 What is this?




Debated whether to put this up or not but thought what the heck why not? Even if it's gonna be made for someone else I'm going to wear it anyway. This is a costume I will be making on my course that I have chosen to do for one of my final projects. It will either be one her famous dresses that she wears in the show or a after a discussion with teachers a ballet version of it due to costs.

Inspired by the Takarazuka panel from Amecon 2010!


MayugeBeam posted on 19 June, 2011 - 19:56
Hello! I was one of the people running the Takarazuka panel last year, and I'm so glad that it inspired you to cosplay Elisabeth! I look forward to seeing it! ^___^

Ranma1-2 posted on 28 November, 2011 - 11:15
I for one would Love to see any wip and info in the journal as you make this. That is, if you have the time. We can learn So much just looking at how somebody goes about putting a costume like this together.. esp off a costume design student ;)

Osanpo posted on 6 March, 2012 - 01:55
I would be more than happy to though I'm now doing my own variation of the costume, I will post my design and the underwear and crinoline I have made! :3

Telly posted on 6 March, 2012 - 07:24
Looks fantastic so far, can't wait to see the finished version! :D

Ranma1-2 posted on 6 March, 2012 - 12:10
wooooow, corset looks fantastic. :)

Ranma1-2 posted on 6 March, 2012 - 12:39
^^ forgot to add..I just realised you put the corset construction in journal. Thank you ^_^ ..Thats wonderfull to see how you did it. I can actually keep up because I just completed making one for my Katy cosplay. Your dress form must be such a close shape to your body. Unfortunately mine is an expandable one so there is a gap at the waist between the top half and bottom half. ..So basically you just eyed up where your vertical panel lines would be? Its amazing to see how similar you made yours. Im gonna use some of your ideas on my next one though. :D :D

Osanpo posted on 6 March, 2012 - 22:22
Thanks so much! :D Glad it was quite helpful! The helpful thing I guess with being a costume student is I have access to different sizes of body forms lol. I've never worked with the expandable mannequins before wonder if maybe pinning some cotton or something down the front and back to cover the gap and maybe draw where the centre front and back would be. To make the vertical panel lines at the front and back I was just able to follow the seam lines on the mannequin right down the middle.

Ranma1-2 posted on 7 March, 2012 - 13:17
..your mannequin has vertical seam lines to follow! whoa that is So handy. Yes I could make a few alterations to mine. Might give it a new cloth covering with those vertical guide lines. ;)

Emzone posted on 7 March, 2012 - 21:39
eee this will be amazing!

Osanpo posted on 7 March, 2012 - 21:54
Thanks Emi! :3

Ranma1-2 posted on 8 March, 2012 - 02:03
What do you use for your rough pattern fabric - is it muslin?

Osanpo posted on 8 March, 2012 - 12:55
I use light/medium grade Calico as it's quite cheap and a sturdy fabric making it easier to pin and easy to use. I find muslin tends to shift a lot making it awkward to pin since pins quite often fall out when trying to stretch the fabric or move it around when altering to the desired shape which could lead to inaccurate patterns so I avoid using it for pattern making. Some people may find it easier to work with but I find it awkward stuff even though I've made my petticoat out of it XD

Yuka posted on 8 March, 2012 - 17:29
I love reading your journal entries and seeing your progress photos on this, I feel so inspired!

Osanpo posted on 8 March, 2012 - 19:28
Thanks Yuka! Glad people are liking it ^^

Ranma1-2 posted on 14 March, 2012 - 00:46
Aha Calico - thanks. *runs off to check calico prices on eBay* ^^ So you are going to Paint? the completed bodice! This is intriguing. Esp because the thought crossed my mind only a few days ago to paint some faric I have which has the right embroidered textured pattern but is the wrong colour. But I dismissed the thought, thinking the paint would probably crack or make the fabric very stiff. ..When you paint your bodice can you mention what paint and basic method so I can learn off you? (I hope you dont think I am asking too much.) Your course sounds Really interesting. I did a sample of fashion design in my Art foundation year, but the fashion tutor asked 'your not thinking of choosing fashion for your final are you?' which sounded pretty rhetorical. I took the hint she did not want me in her class, for whatever reason. Made me a bit sad though. Anyhow so I didnt get to do it in depth like you, thats why Im so interested reading how you are doing stuff. :)

Osanpo posted on 15 March, 2012 - 00:20
Lol it's no problem ask as many questions as you like I'm glad you're so interested! ^^ I will be painting the bodice and skirt for this dress with procrion dyes, which are great for dyeing natural fabrics. I will put in a future journal how I go about it in greater detail but basically before dyeing anything you must completely wet the fabric in water and can apply the dye in any method you wish to gain the desired effect, you can put wax where you don't want the dye to go and iron it out afterwards too. Spraying, painting on, dip dyeing, etc will all create quite different effects on the fabric. The course is very interesting since we're required not only to know how to make the dresses but the history behind them also of the time period and do a great deal of research for our designs. It can get very stressful at times though XD I have a few ex fashion students in my class and they say it's very different to fashion based courses since you are allowed a lot more freedom on what you want to make and do especially in third year when you can choose your own projects. I chose Elisabeth and was suggested doing The Dark Crystal so I had to redesign a lot of the original characters which was quite a challenge!

Leolarua posted on 15 March, 2012 - 01:21
im loving the progress so far! i cant wait to see the finished product :)

JustPeachy posted on 15 March, 2012 - 15:19
This is looking beautiful so far! I look forward to seeing more progress :)

Osanpo posted on 15 March, 2012 - 20:36
Thanks so much ^^

Ranma1-2 posted on 18 March, 2012 - 00:16
Ah I see, painting with Dye. I am wondering if I can get away with air brushing thinned gold craft paint onto my fabric surface - not so much as to soak the fabric through, but just enough to colour the surface..See if I can make it appear like gold coloured silk. Its worth an experiment on a test piece.

Osanpo posted on 18 March, 2012 - 03:45
That sounds like an interesting idea, tell me how it goes! :D

Ranma1-2 posted on 19 March, 2012 - 00:29
ok shall try mon..

Ranma1-2 posted on 22 March, 2012 - 20:28
painting experiment results - hmm actually looked good..but even though the paint hadnt soaked through it still made the fabric stiffer. Too bad. So back on the hunt, shall have to go trawl the fabric market....

RanmaSyaoran posted on 12 May, 2012 - 00:56
Really nice work here! :D

tripletriad posted on 12 May, 2012 - 01:01
Stunning work! This is beautiful =]

MissAriel posted on 12 May, 2012 - 01:38
:O that dress! Its so beautiful!

BabemRoze posted on 12 May, 2012 - 08:19

rosieroo posted on 12 May, 2012 - 13:56
this is beautiful i hope i can make something half as amazing as this

No thanks posted on 12 May, 2012 - 22:26
Absoloutly STUNNING, this is looking gorgeous, Loved following your progress on this!

Sammymisa posted on 13 May, 2012 - 00:19
this is gorgeus

eternal_aranel posted on 18 May, 2012 - 21:00
So so so beautiful!

SockFish posted on 28 May, 2012 - 02:43
Wooowwwwww gosh, this is amazing!! The notes you've put up on your journal are so interesting too!!♥♥

Freyarule posted on 28 May, 2012 - 07:29
Oh my god that us beautiful!!

sjbonnar posted on 28 May, 2012 - 10:36

alytheluvly posted on 28 May, 2012 - 11:22
Stunning dress! Absolutely love it! <3

Alias Cosplay posted on 28 May, 2012 - 16:23
Really awesome work.

Sephirayne posted on 13 June, 2012 - 15:43
Wow! That is beautiful. Lovely work. ♥

Amy-Lou posted on 14 July, 2012 - 13:13
It's been great following the construction of this, the final dress is wonderful. I bet it was nerve wracking painting it last.

Osanpo posted on 14 July, 2012 - 17:06
Thanks guys for all the nice comments! Yeah it was nerve wracking to begin with when you've spent so long sewing it together. Once you get into it is it fine just need to make sure to sample each dye made up and make a ton of it at once. The amount of times I've mixed the same batches of dye only to have the shades differ greatly lol

Monkey posted on 22 July, 2012 - 22:17
This is so beautiful! I love the work and attention to detail you've put into it. Its a gorgeous design as well! Well done on it all!

khaleesi posted on 23 July, 2012 - 00:39
fantastic. SO beautiful!!

Leonie Heartilly posted on 23 July, 2012 - 01:03
The dress is gorgeous! And you have clearly put a lot of work and love into it. Nice to see some really detailed progress info in your journals too. Well done, you should be proud =)

Siouxsie James posted on 23 July, 2012 - 18:01
Absolutely wonderful! Gratz on the showcase this dress is amazing!!

FusionRose posted on 23 July, 2012 - 20:26
this is THE most beautiful thing i've come across on Cosplay Island - much deserved for the showcase!! x

Osanpo posted on 23 July, 2012 - 23:31
Oh wow thanks guys! I didn't realise it got chosen for the showcase! Glad you all like it so much and find my journals helpful :D

Nomes posted on 26 July, 2012 - 23:23
Beautiful. Just beautiful.

Fizzykat posted on 27 July, 2012 - 13:30
absolutly stunning!!

Sephirayne posted on 27 July, 2012 - 16:50
Amazing work and the journal is really useful. Thanks for pointing me to it. Congrats on the showcase. Very much deserved ^^

gaming_goddess posted on 28 July, 2012 - 02:05
This dress is so gorgeous. I'm really pleased you shared it with us as it's truely stunning :) congrats on the Showcase :)

cowiee posted on 29 July, 2012 - 02:20
wow.. i'm speechless. This is absolutely stunning! Very impressed!

Osanpo posted on 30 July, 2012 - 12:01
Thanks again guys! :D

Kacela posted on 30 July, 2012 - 17:44
This gown is so beautiful; very impressive.

Chibi posted on 22 August, 2012 - 22:20
This is absolutely stunning! Much kudos <3

minato_haruna posted on 30 September, 2012 - 11:07
I love this dress. You can see how much hard work has gone into it, with amazing results!

Zedela posted on 13 November, 2012 - 23:09
This looks absolutely amazing!! Such wonderful work you've done here! :DDD

Progress Journal

14th July 2012

Conclusion type thing


Thought I'd make a little journal about this with any hints or advice that I think maybe useful that I haven't put into the other journal entries.

Hint 1: Dresses of this type take up a lot of fabric

Looking at the dress it's a given considering the size of it. This dress was made up of at least 50 mtrs worth of fabric maybe a bit more due to what was used to make decoration. Dresses of this size do take up a lot of fabric whether people believe it or not. This was made to fit someone between a size 6-8 and it still took all that fabric. Most of it goes into the skirt (duh!) especially to provide a lot more volume at the back and to make sure it doesn't "drag" and falls nicely over the crinoline.

Hint 2: Can't afford all that fabric or find the right colour?

It maybe scary but a great way to reduce costs on a project is to dye up the fabric yourself! Dying can be fun and easy as long as you follow the directions that are given with the dye. White fabrics can be a lot cheaper than buying straight coloured ones, a good place to get fabrics ready to dye is http://www.whaleys-bradford.ltd.uk/

Tip for when dyeing large amounts of fabric or dyeing stuff in pieces on different days is to always and I mean ALWAYS make up a large batch in one go. When you try to mix up another batch no matter how accurate you measure it the colour and shade will differ and sometimes by quite a lot!

Hint 3: You don't always need expensive fabric to make a pretty dress!

This dress is made purely out of printing cotton, the roses and leaves made out of cheap polyester lining and the overlaying skirt is cheap polyester chiffon. I have made other detailed costumes that were made entirely out of calico and had fooled many to believe it was cream silk (until you saw it right up close of course). If you take enough time and effort you can create beautiful things! Don't spend £5 on that one silk rose! Spend £2 on polyester lining and make 15 instead that are just as effective! There are plenty of tutorials out there on sewing techniques and decoration, many of what I've learnt have been from tutorials I've found online and from cosplay forums. All it takes is practice!

Hint 4: Don't be afraid to ask for samples and create a little book of samples and textile work.

Never be afraid to ask sellers for a swatch or sample online or in stores. You can waste a lot of money if that lovely fabric you saw online came to you and it turned out it was horrible or just wasn't the right colour or didn't go very well. Swatches can also help you to see if the fabric flows and folds right for the effect that you desire for your chosen cosplay. Even if the swatch doesn't seem right you can put it in a sketchbook or folder with the name of the place you got it for any future costumes.

Besides what I've done for my uni course I keep a little book of samples of techniques I've tried out, whether it be a pocket I've had a go at making, dying and embroidery or fabrics. Samples from previous projects are also placed within the book in case I can use similar techniques on future stuff too.


That's all the hints I can come up with so far I hope it doesn't seem like I'm a know it all or anything, there is still many things I don't know yet about costume making or not so great at myself. I hope these journals were useful to people thanks for taking the time to read what I've put and look at my page!

14th July 2012

The skirt

--------------The Skirt--------------

Last part of the journal for this dress now.

For the skirt I used the same pattern that I used for the petticoat only this time I'm cutting the whole thing out of poly-cotton (which is used as the backing) and printing cotton. I start off cutting out all my pieces on the poly-cotton.


I cut it out the same way as I did with the petticoat cutting panels A and E on the fold and cutting E out twice for more volume at the back of the skirt. 4inches of seam allowance was left at the hemline which provides extra material for me to work with in case it's too short when it gets fitted. The next step I flat tacked all the pieces of poly-cotton that I had cut out onto the printing cotton making sure it is as flat as possible.


Backing the cotton provides support to the skirt easing stress on the fabric and helps maintain it's shape. I sewed all the panels together, over-locked and ironed open the seams. I pleated the skirt on the mannequin the same way as I did with the petticoat pinning the centre front and centre back in place then knife pleating all one side from the back. I repeated this on the other side. Once all the pleats were in I sewed through them then sewed a long strip of cotton tape to form a makeshift waistband for the fitting. The dress turned out like this:




After the fitting it was time to start thinking about decoration and adjusting the size of the hemline. I just placed scarp bits of fabric and paper shapes to work out what the decoration would look like and the size of the catacombs would be on the skirt.


I needed to face the hemline so I started cutting long strips of bias out of the cotton I had left folding the fabric like this and cutting along the diagonal line:


Each strip I cut is 4inches wide


All the strips were sewn together at right-angles and the seams pressed open


Next the long strip was sewn all along the bottom of the outside of the skirt ready for it to be folded and slip-stitched to the inside of the skirt. Before doing that though I had to dye the skirt. I used the same dye that I used on the bodice this time I had to attach the skirt to the mannequin over the top of the crinoline which I covered with cling-film and bin bags so that it would get wet and rust (it ended up doing this regardless). I ran the skirt in the washing machine on rinse to help soak it through, I then filled up a stray bottle with water so that I could keep the skirt damp as I painted into it. I started off with the charcoal procion dye painting from the waistline to the middle of the skirt spraying as I went along to help the dye run. I left it over the weekend to dry and painted the brown mixture I had made from the hemline up. This time I had to completely soak the bottom of the skirt with the water bottle before I could dye it again. I would also spray into it to help the dye reveal the brown colour in places a bit more.

The end result was this:




The next step was to start working out the size and how many catacombs would be placed a long he hemline of the skirt. I worked this out by measuring the hemline of my skirt and then divided it by the width of the patterns I had made for the catacombs. For this skirt it was:

259inches/14inches = 18.5 catacombs

However I only needed 16 in all to cover the whole hemline of the skirt. I had a few problems with the placement of them at first since I had made a slight train to the back of the skirt and for some reason it was wider at the sides. To fix this problem I unpicked the bias and levelled the whole skirt to the height it was at the front. This made the catacombs sit better on the hemline since I didn't take the train into account when making the catacombs so this had delayed me quite a bit fixing the hem.


Now that the catacombs were on it was time to start the overlaying skirt. I made it out of polyester chiffon which I used the same patterns again that I used for the petticoat and the main skirt. He problem though with it was that it was too bright white and didn't fit it with the rest of the dress.


I decided that I would dip-dye it down with Potassium Permanganate which is used a lot in films to create a old-aged effect on clothes. It works better with naturally made fabrics though it worked pretty well with the chiffon though I had to dip it twice to get the desired colour.


I then attached the overlaying skirt after hemming it by melting the edge with a flame by pleating it a long the waistline and sewing it in place.


Now that all the layers were on the skirt I could start with making the placket and the waistband. The placket again being 10inches down the centre back of the skirt so the bias and interfacing strips would have to be cut to 22inch long and 4inches wide. I ironed the interfacing onto a dyed bias strip of cotton then pinned and machine sewed it along the seam in a straight line. The seam at the bottom needed to be cut into to allow the placket to sit straight.


The placket is folded and slip-stitched onto the inside of the skirt so that it looks like this:


The waist band was made in a similar way but without the interfacing in it.


Once I had finished binding it off I attached the fastenings a long the placket. I placed a hook and bar at the top of the placket with poppers placed 1inch a part all the way down.

13th July 2012

Bodice, Sleeve and Bertha

-------------Making the Bodice--------------

The pattern for the bodice comes from the book “Period Costume for Stage & Screen: Patterns for Women's Dress 1800-1909” and is a 1860's evening bodice. I chose this bodice since my dress was design as an evening dress that would be worn to court or other special events. It was cut the same way as the corset which was on the stand using the seam lines to help me shape it. It was also shaped on top of the crinoline and petticoat so that it would fit on top of them. Again I used strips of calico to form the panels and pin everything in place. Once happy with the shape I drew in all the seam lines and take it off the stand.




I used a roll of wadding to help form the armhole and unlike the corset I started the centre back on the actual back seam on the mannequin. I also went for a point at the back of the bodice which I used a roll of wadding to help form the armhole and unlike the corset I started the centre back on the actual back seam on the mannequin. I also went for a point at the back of the bodice which instead of just a flat edge to give it a little character. They did though do it both ways in the 1860s.


Next I transferred the pattern pieces on to paper then started drawing them out on to cotton drill.


Since the front panel of the bodice had to be cut on the fold, all the pieces are cut twice at once so that the fabric is already double up for me to sew my boning channels in. They are cut with a 1 inch seam allowance all the way round though the back panel is cut with a 3 inch seam allowance which allows it to be tightened to let out if needed during the fitting and to make the placket at the back for the fastenings to be attached to. All pieces have to be cut out 4 times except for the front panel which only needs to be cut out twice on the fold. Since the fabric was doubled up this made it quicker to cut all the needed pieces out. They needed to be cut out so many times so that two layers of cotton drill could be flat tacked together and then the boning channels could be marked and sewn in.


The channels go a long on both sides of the seam-lines about 0.5cms from the seam. The bones are longer in the back panels and just come to the height of the bust in the front panel and side panels.


After sewing in all the boning channels I then flat tacked them on the straight onto printing cotton.


After cutting around all the pieces I started to sew the panels together then put the boning steels in and sewed along the shoulder straps.


At this point the bodice was now ready to be fitted to my model


After the bodice was fitted I took the bodice apart as I realised I had forgot to put piping in. Piping was made up of bias strips of printing cotton that has a length of piping cord sewn into the fold using a piping/zipper foot on the machine. I then sewed the piping along the seam-line and sewed the bodice back together.


Now that the bodice was together I started to dye it the colours that are shown on my illustration. I had tested a few of the dye I would be using and the colours I would need to create to get the right colours. I started off with dying the skirt and the bodice with a strong solution of charcoal procrion dye. I had to make enough to dye the skirt, sleeves, bodice, catacombs and any strips needed to finish off the dress. This was because if I ran out and had to make more the colour would not come out the same colour that I needed and it would waste a lot of time to get close enough again. The same was also done to the brown procion dye. To dye the dress the bodice and skirt were dyed separately since they will not be joined together since many dresses in the 1860s were separate. To dye the bodice I first removed the bones so that they do not rust. The bodice is then soaked completely in water, this helps the dye stick better and also I added extra water to help create a gradient effect. I then painted the charcoal dye onto the bodice from the neckline to the middle putting extra water as I go. I found that this method for putting the dye on suited what I wanted since spraying left splotches all over the samples I did and dip dying took a long time for it to soak up. The brush also allowed me to create a more decomposed effect on the bodice as well as more control over the dye.


A light layer was first applied with the layers getting darker the more I add to it. The same technique was down with the brown dye but from the waistline going up. I had a few problems with the brown dye as I originally used chestnut brown in my samples which provided the odd dash of blue/purple where the dye ran. I couldn't seem to get it to do the same when using bigger samples so ended up mixing four different colours of procion dyes until I got the shade I wanted. I mixed together chestnut brown, dark brown, golden yellow and charcoal dyes. The browns provided the base colour where the yellow made them a lot less red, The charcoal helped to darken it and also provided the blue/purple smears that I wanted to have.

The bodice ended up looking like this:


This picture also shows me messing with the arrangement of the sleeves and decoration. Before attaching the sleeves and binding the neckline and waistline off I over-locked and pressed open the seams cutting triangular shapes where there were curves in the fabric and it needed letting out. The raw edges left by this are zig-zag stitched and the seams are herringboned flat against the bodice. Also I had put the boning steels back into the bodice at this point.

Now I started to bind off the neckline and waistline by using a strip of piping which I applied in a similar fashion to bias. The piping was sewn a long the neckline and the raw edge is then folded over and slip-stitched to the inside of the bodice, the same was done for the waistline.


As shown in the picture I first attached it before it was dyed, dying after I had attached it to the bodice. The bodice then looks like this:


Now the bodice was ready to start putting the decoration and making the placket at the back. This ribcage effect was created by string beads and sewing them to the bodice. The spine of it is sewn all the way down the bodice where as the ribs are left to hang only being attached at the spine and on the side seam.

The back is bound off with a strip of bias about 1inch from the centre back on the left panel and it bound off on the right back panel a long the centre back. Hook and bars are placed 1cm from the top with an inch interval between each one. I found the best way of making sure it stays fastened is to alternate between the hook and bar on both sides of the bodice.

---------------The Sleeves------------------

For this sleeve I used patterns from the book “Period Costume for Stage & Screen: Patterns for Women's Dress 1800-1909”. The sleeve is made up of two parts the inner sleeve I cut to about 1inch wider than the arm circumference of my model so she can easily get her arm in and out of the sleeve. I made the inner sleeve out of poly-cotton as it will not be seen or require dyeing also it would be comfier against my model's arm. The outside of the sleeve is made to be a lot bigger than the inner sleeve so it can provide the “poof” effect on the sleeve. The ends of the outer sleeve are just wide enough so that it can be box pleated.


These box pleats will be under the arm and help reduce the bulk of the sleeve under the arm so it can rest comfortably. I sewed the pleats in place then joined the two sides together.


Then using a loose stitch on the sewing machine I sew along the raw edge at the top and bottom of the sleeve and gather it up enough to fit around the top and bottom of the inner sleeve. They are sewn together with wrong sides together. After this stage I soaked and painted both sleeves with the charcoal dye and brown dye. The top of the sleeve joining the shoulders was painted with the charcoal dye whilst the bottom half was painted brown. After they had dried it was time to set them into the sleeves of the dress. I always find attaching sleeves quite difficult but luckily these ones went in pretty well. I turn the bodice inside out and leave the sleeve the right side out. I slip the sleeve into the arm hole and lined it up and pinned it into place. I then ran it through the sewing machine being careful not to pinch the fabric.


The sleeve ended up looking like this when sewn:


After putting both sleeves in I bound off both the raw edge on the outside and the one in the armhole with bias strips after cutting them down to about 0.5inches. The bias strip for the raw edge on the outside was dyed brown before being sewn on. They were biased by sewing the strip along the right side then folded over the seam and slip-stitched on the other side.

------------The Bertha-------------

For those who don't know, the "collar" seen on 1860s is called the bertha and here is how to make one. To start off with I played with a few ideas with how I wanted it to look on my dress. After putting the bodice together I played with scraps fabric on the mannequin. Here were the results of me playing about:


This was made using bias strips that were folded, ironed and machine sewn on in rows onto a bias cut base.


This was made from a piece of tulle to which I machined sewed gathered strips of poly-cotton.


Just like the previous one I machine sewed gathered strips of poly-cotton this time there are three strips and are sewn onto a bias cut base.


This is the final idea I had which I really liked the look of as it gave a romantic and elegant look to the bodice. It also seemed to go with the gathered over-layer on the skirt much more than the others. This was created by pinning polyester chiffon onto the neckline and pinching it in the middle. After the fitting I made a proper pattern to work from.

Once all the alterations had been done to the bodice I cut out a pattern for the bertha using a piece of cotton that had been cut on the bias. This pattern started from the centre front and went around the shoulder to the centre back of the bodice. A triangular shape was cut out of the shoulders and extra fabric pinned in place to allow the arms to move freely when it is worn.




I made the bertha thinner at the front than the back since I only wanted the front to look like it was gathered up and pinned with the rose.

I transferred the pattern pieces onto pattern paper then cut out the pattern four times on the bias of printing cotton.


I sewed the bertha a long the centre seams forming 2 circles. These circles I placed on top of each other and sewed the larger side together.


It was then bagged out and the inner ring was slip-stitched closed leaving the bertha ready to be dyes in the same colours as the bodice and skirt. I soaked the bertha in water then proceeded to paint the charcoal procion dye followed by the brown mixture I made. The blue was put on the shoulders whilst the brown was painted on the centre front and back so it looked like this:


Next I worked out the pattern for the over-layer of the bertha. I used cotton that was cut on the bias to form the tucks and folds.


Again I transferred the pattern onto pattern paper then cut it out on the bias of polyester chiffon dyed using potassium permanganate. The over-layer was sewn on in two parts which made it easier to pin and pleat it into shape. I started from the front pleating it as finely as I could then folding the edge under.


I slip-stitched it into place all the way round and repeated the process for the other side of the bertha. To finish it off I placed four roses I made out of polyester lining and also dipped in potassium permanganate. These were placed on the shoulders, centre back and centre front. Three leaves made out of polyester lining were sewn beneath each flower. I chose to just use three leaves each as odd numbers look better and I thought five would look excessive when I want it to look delicate.


Poppers are attached to the shoulders of the dress and underneath the shoulders of the bertha to keep it on.

That's it for today, Next will be the skirt itself

28th May 2012

Crinoline, bumroll and petticoat

Now I will talk about how I made the crinoline, the bumroll and the petticoat!

---------------The crinoline-----------------------------

The crinoline for the dress is based on a cage crinoline from the 1860s, mine being based on the later crinolines which the main bulk of the skirt is mostly at the back. There was no pattern that I could use for this in the books so I had to work from the pictures of the old caged crinolines. I started off with eight strips of 2 metre long cotton tape that is also 1 inch wide. I then pleated the strips to create channels wide enough for the crinoline steels to go through.


The channels are 1 cm wide with a gap of 2 inches between them.

After all eight strips were pleated and sewn I started on making the waistband and bum pad for the strips to hand from. Unfortunately I didn't take pictures of the process of making this but the end result at the back looks like this:


In the end it only took seven strips evenly placed a round the waist band and bum pad. four of the strips were placed at even intervals two at the front and 1 at either side of the mannequin. The last three were sewn in the bum pad. The bum pad was made made up of two layers of cotton drill with canvas herringboned on one side. On the canvased side I placed the last three cotton strips onto the bum pad like this diagram shows although I placed them with a 1 inch seam allowance:

(please excuse my terrible mspaint diagram but I hope it's clear enough to get any info across.)


I placed the other half over the top of it and sew it along the curved side so that I can bag it out after. It ended up looking like this:


This diagram also shows where I sew it onto the back of the waistband but before I do that I machine embroidered the whole pad to make it more stiff. Then I attached it like the diagram shows to the centre back of the waistband.

The waist band itself is made up of white petersham tape cut the the measurements of my models waist which was 25 inches. Two sets of hook and bars are placed on either end of the tape which the ends have been finished off by folding the tape over and machine sewed.

After the waistband was completed making sure all the strips were even with the first channel about 2 inches away from the waistband. I started to thread the crinoline steels through the channels starting from the bottom working my way up. I wanted to make the crinoline big so started with the bottom hoop being 160 inches in circumference. The crinoline took up and entire roll of 0.5 inch crinoline steel and I didn't have enough to finish the top few channels so I used some 1 inch thick steel for the last three hoops and used the previous ones to finish off the crinoline. After the steels were put in it ended up looking like this:


The steels get smaller the further they go up the crinoline and the two top ones will be cut in the middle to provide a gap so that my model can get in and out of it with out too much difficulty. At this stage the crinoline was very wonky and needed a lot of adjusting to get the shape and smooth as possible.


This is the finished shape of the crinoline, I had to remove one of the hoops at the bottom of it as it was too long. A bum-roll was made for this crinoline in order to support the back of the skirt and provide the fullness at the back.


The bum roll was made using the same pattern for the pad at the back of the crinoline only this time it's made out of cotton. Two pieces are cut out and two long strips of cotton tape are placed in the corners just like in this diagram:


After sewing it all together leaving the gap to bag it out I stuffed it till it was quite stiff. The gap was then sewn together using a ladder stitch.

-----------------The Petticoat----------------------

For the petticoat I used the eight panel skirt from the book “Period Costume for Stage & Screen: Patterns for Women's Dress1800-1909”. I chose this skirt as it came with a slight train which I wanted to have for my dress. I cut the pattern out according to the measurements shown in the book onto pattern paper. These pieces were then placed on the crinoline to see if the skirt would fit such as would it need lengthening, more panels, etc.


As the picture showed the pattern did need lengthening and a few more panels to be added notably at the back of the skirt. To fix the pattern I just cut extra pieces of pattern paper and taped it to the pieces already on the crinoline ad cut them to to length and shape that I need them.


After the patterns had been fixed I started to transfer the patterns to the fabric I would be using which was white muslin cotton. Pieces A and E were cut on the fold whilst the rest of the pieces were cut twice. Panel E also was doubled to provide more volume to the back of the skirt. All the pieces were sewn together and then over-locked and seams pressed open.


I then over-locked the waistline and the hemline of the skirt then it was time to start pleating it onto the mannequin. I pleated it over the top of the crinoline so I could see how the fabric would fall over the frame. The first time I pleated the skirt there wasn't enough fabric at the back of the skirt so it started to drag and not hang well on the crinoline. This was easily fixed though by adding another Panel E. I pleat the skirt by pinning the centre front and the centre back in place on the mannequin then pleat it into knife pleats the point towards the back of the skirt like so:


I start with one side and then copy it on the other side.



As you can see from the following pictures the petticoats falls quite nicely over the crinoline and just needs the hemline fixing which will be done after the next fitting.




The pleats are set in place by running them through the sewing machine. It had to have a lot of pins in it as I found that the pins didn't like staying and the fabric liked to shift a lot making pleats bigger or smaller. After that it was time to put in the placket at the centre back of the skirt. I marked down the centre back 10 inches which is how long the placket will be, then cut a long that line.


I then prepared a 22 inch strip of muslin and interfacing which will be the placket.


The interfacing was ironed onto the muslin strip then pinned all the way a long the 20 inch seam allowance on the right side of the fabric.


I sewed a long this line then folded it over and tucked it in onto the inside of the skirt and slip-stitched into place.


Next I worked on finishing off the waistline by sewing the edge onto a long strip of petersham onto the inside of the skirt, cutting the seam allowance down and finishing off the raw edge by covering it with cream cotton tape.




Usually the waistbands for most petticoats (both usually made out of cotton) like this are bound off the same way as the placket is but since I was using muslin this method proved better to help keep the pleats aligned.

Fastenings were then attached a hook and bar at the top of the placket and poppers running down the rest of the placket. A 10 inch wide frill will be added to the petticoat that will be box-pleated. To work out how long the fabric needed to be to pleat enough all the way round I took the circumference of the bottom of the skirt and times it by 3.

So the length of the frill would be:

259 x 3 = 777 inches

After cutting long strips of muslin and sewing them together they are finished off by doing a rolled hem. They are then pleated into box pleats which are pressed and starched then sewn onto the hem of the petticoat.

Well that's it for now, next I will talk about how I made the bodice for the dress!

27th May 2012

Chemise and bloomers

Well I finally have time now to right more journals about this dress now that my costumes have been handed in. Here are how I made the chemise and bloomers, will cover the crinoline and petticoat in the next journal.

--------------- The Chemise ---------------

The chemise for this project was a 19th Century pattern that I got from “Period Costume for Stage & Screen: Patterns for Women's Dress 1800-1909.” I chose the Pattern C which was made for a dress with a low neckline which was typical or evening dresses in the 1860's. I drew up this pattern by counting the blocks which the pattern covered and then transferred that information in inches on pattern paper. Once all the patterns had been drawn and cut out I placed them on the white muslin. I started by cutting out pattern B which is the main body of the chemise and had to be cut out on the fold of the fabric on the straight twice.


Next I cut out the shoulder straps which were part A then the sleeves (part C x2) and finally the gussets for the sleeves (part D x2). Any markings that were on the pattern were also drawn onto the 1 inch seam allowance to help tell me where I would be placing the straps, gusset and sleeves.



All the pieces were over-locked first before I started sewing them together (usually I would do this as I was going along sewing panels together parts at a time but since I'm using muslin over locking them beforehand makes it slightly easier to work with I find). The two parts of pattern B are sewed up on both sides until I reached a marking showing where the gusset would go. In this gap I placed the gusset like in the picture below and sewed it to the main dress along the seam-line.


The sleeve straps were then attached, pinning again where I had marked it on the seam allowance and sewed it to one side then joining it to the other forming a strap. Depending on how long the sleeves on the dress are you can leave it there or like I did attach the sleeves.


Next to be sewn on were the sleeves first attached onto the strap.


After sewing it along the strap I carefully pinned the free parts of the gusset and sewed them to the sleeve finally I sew both sides of the sleeve starting from the corner of he gusset.

I placed insertion lace a long the front and back of the chemise about and inch from the neckline and threaded a cream coloured ribbon in the lace so that the chemise could be pulled tight.


Since the lace didn't go all the way around the chemise I had to slip-stitch the ribbon in place on either end so that it would not be pulled out.


The hemline, neckline and sleeves were finished off by just turning the fabric inside and stitching along it. Now the chemise is finished!

Front of the chemise


Back of the chemise


-------------- Bloomers --------------

The bloomers pattern was taken from the “Period Costume for Stage & Screen:Patterns for Women's Dress 1800-1909” just like the chemise. The pattern is made up of one pattern piece which is cut twice to create the two legs.


After cutting out both legs I pin and sew the opposite sides of each leg together before I attach each leg to each other.



I then over-lock the seams and press them open


After I have done that I start to attach the two parts together pinning and sewing from the waistline, along the crutch and all the way up the back. Again after they are sewn together the seams are over-locked and ironed open.


The bloomers are now ready to be finished off


The waistband was finished off by cutting a 4 inch wide bias strip of the same fabric which was muslin. I made the bias myself and can be worked out folding the fabric like this and cutting a long the diagonal fold:


The 4 inch wide strip is then wrapped and pinned around the waistband cutting off any excess bias strip. The strip is pinned on the outside of the bloomers to which it'll be then folded over and slip-stitched to the inside of the waistline.



I left a gap open at the back of the bloomers in the waistband to insert some elastic into it which I used a safety pin to feed through.


The bottom of the legs were finished off by over-locking the raw edge, folding it over and slip-stitching it in place. Insertion lace was placed about 4 inches up the leg and machine sewn on. I then threaded the same ribbon that I used on the chemise through the wholes so that they could be pulled tight.


6th March 2012

The corset

Due to the request of Ranma1-2 I will make journal entries on how this is being made (It's taken me months to see the comment I'm sorry Ranma D:). Anyhow I am more than happy to post "how to" when I have time and am more than willing to share how as I'm learning it as well. The dress I'm currently making I've designed myself for her but I do plan on making this dress eventually and the dress I made has a similar shape overall. Please bare with me however if I don't get all the information down or some of it doesn't make any sense since I'm not used to writing how to's in general. Any questions feel free to send me a message though may take me sometime getting back to you since I'm very busy at the moment and don't go on this site as often as I use to.

I'll start off by talking about the corset in other journals I will talk about the crinoline, bloomers, chemise, petticoat and so on. First off find a pattern that you would like to make! I chose a 1850s corset for mine since it was made to accentuate the waist and from the era I am making from. When I can find the pattern I will post it in the journal. Now I make my patterns particularly for the corset and bodice by "cutting on the stand" which means that I attach strips of fabric to a mannequin and pin everything into place replicating the patterns on the sheet I am using as close as possible. It is a great way to create a tight fitting garment and see the shape of how you want it.


My pattern showed that there are 12 panels that is needed to make up my corset so I only need to work out 6 which is half of it on the mannequin as I will just replicate the other side. I attached 6 strips of fabric placing them where I think they would go using my pattern guide. I use the lines on the mannequin as a guidance for where I will put my seams.


After much tweaking and getting the right shape I draw in the seam lines and where I want the top and bottom of the corset to be. This is what the finished pattern should look like:

(as you can see the back panel is 1 inch away from the centre back line this is so that the corset will be able to be pulled in and create a nice small waist.)

Next I cut around the pattern pieces and transfer it onto paper and marked and numbered all the pattern pieces.


The next step is to transfer these pieces onto the fabric that I will be using which is a Herringbone Coutil. An inch seam allowance is added all the way round the pattern pieces.


On the centre front and the centre back I leave a 3 inch seam allowance which is where I will be placing the busk (at the front) and the eyelets (at the back).


Now to cut all the pieces out and start sewing them in the right order.


Once all sewn together I put in the boning for where the eyelets will be. This was done by just folding over the seam allowance along the centre back leaving enough space for 2 steels and the eyelets either side of the corset. I use the steels I have to draw the boning channels in and sew along the line then insert the steel into the channel. I then mark where I want my eyelets to go. The rule I was given was to always start 1cm from the top and from then you can either space them out 1-1.5inches all the way down.


I put holes where these dots are then put the eyelets in these holes I suggest maybe getting 5mm wide eyelets. The eyelet packs come with instructions on how to use them and put them in so I won't explain how.


In this next picture (sorry for the quality) you can see the eyelets but also where I have started putting in the boning channels this time though I will be using something called spiral steels (http://www.venacavadesign.co.uk/Products/Spiral_Wire_7mm3_75mm.html) which are bendy but still provide a lot of support. For the channels I just pinned cotton tape a long the areas where my pattern said they would go making sure that it is even on both sides of the corset.


Once all the boning had been put in I felled-seamed all the seams expect for the centre front which is where I'll put the busk. This is the part where I don't think I'll be able to explain very well. It's quite easy putting in the busk though also a bit fiddly at the same time. I start of with the "hook"(not the technical term but I can't remember right now, bad of me I know lol) side of the busk, this is placed on the right side of the corset. I line it up at the front (the end with the longer bit of steel should be at the top of the corset) and I marked where the "hooks" are along the centre front line.


Now I cut an extra strip of coutil and sewed it along the centre front line leaving the gaps open where I marked where the "hoops" are at. I folded the fabric over then slotted the "hoop" side of the busk into the gaps hoping it would fit right. I folded the raw edge under then sewed it up.


Now for the other side of the busk which will be attached to the left side of the centre front, for this all I did was mark where the little "prongs" would go making sure they lined up with the "hooks". I folded over the seam allowance trapping the busk in and poked holes big enough for the "prongs" to go through.


Now that the busk is in it's time to neaten up the raw edges at the top and bottom of the corset. To do this I bias binded the edges. Before I did though I placed some lace along the top of the corset to make it look pretty.


I cut down the edge til the seam allowance is about 0.5-1cm wide. I made my own bias tape and sewed it onto the outside edge of the corset. I then folded it over and tucked it in on the inside of the corset and slip-stitched it in place.


Lace up the back and ta da!


Hopefully that was helpful in someways I'll post more soon hopefully when I'm bored or tired of working.